Over the years the understanding of human needs has been looked at from various perspectives. Perhaps the best-known general analysis of basic human needs was compiled by Maslow.
Since that time, there have been many others. All of these analyses are worthy of consideration, although the more recent models are almost certainly more relevant to the current market.
My thoughts on this subject are as follows:
- Remember Abraham Maslow
Maslow introduced marketers and psychologists to the concept of a hierarchy of needs, where human beings move to the next level once their needs at the current level are met. In ascending order, Maslow’s hierarchy involves physiological needs, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.
- Remember Frederick Herzberg
Herzberg introduced psychologists to his two-factor theory – which divides needs into two categories – hygiene and motivational. This distinction is particularly important to marketers as they make a distinction between the needs all brands must satisfy and those which can provide a point of difference.
- Remember it is 2019
Marketers might pay more attention to the needs that recent research has suggested drive purchase behaviour among consumers of 2019. They are – certainty, variety, significance, connection, growth, and contribution. Focusing on these needs requires accepting that physiological needs are met.
We all want to know that the sun will rise tomorrow – even though, one day it will not. We all want to know that our car will start tomorrow and that the products we buy will perform and deliver just as the vendor and manufacturer say they will. Brands delivering certainty out-perform those that don’t.
Unless you are a child, you probably do not like watching the same movie over and over again. You want and appreciate variety. Within the parameters that deliver the required – and perhaps more important certainty – variety is something most consumers seek.
All human beings, and not just consumers want to feel significant. Most human beings want to believe that their currency and custom are valued and that they will be taken seriously and treated with respect when they make a purchase. They like to be remembered and valued.
All human beings need and seek connection – even loners. The greatest predictor of life expectancy is not genetics or fitness – but rather connection. Connected people live longer. Building relationships and communities can be powerful marketing strategies.
Not everyone wants to be richer today than they were yesterday – but research suggests that it is a core human need to feel more in some way today than we did yesterday. We all want to feel we are moving ahead – and will purchase products and services that will support this feeling.
Consistent with the desire for significance, most human beings like to feel that the world is a better place with them in it and that they are in some way making a positive contribution to the world they live in. We want to give back or at least feel like we are giving back – and we will pay for it.